Ever since the deadly pathogen grappled the whole world, school closures have become a popular norm. These closings around the world have brought forward several challenges and also learnings. For instance, the prevailing myth regarding the prospects of the internet being used as a source of primary education in the future is now being questioned. Given present-day circumstances, the realisation is quite apparent as we note that the availability of a physical classroom holds utmost importance in the academic development of any student.
By the time of publishing this article, more than 4.4 million cases were confirmed in over 187 countries. The numbers are truly terrifying, and it is quite clear that our lives are dependent on the development of a vaccine to counter the COVID-19 pandemic. Reports suggest that we have to accept living with this pandemic as it is here to stay. That being said, most of our daily to-do-list requires our physical assistance; hence, it is essential that we use alternative solutions to counter these things.
In this article, we will discuss the most ignored subject that has highly affected the academic lives of Science students given closures of schools across the globe. This implies that young students no longer have access to science labs. While governments are focused on improving and standardising a legitimate educational system on online platforms, there is no attention being paid to the importance of using Science Labs.
Precisely, the sudden transition from a physical classroom to digital learning has capsized educational systems around the globe. The digital platform learning has stemmed a meager type of learning with sheer inconsistencies, and no access to science labs has deprived the students of the hands-on experience. Let’s discover how we can counter this issue.
One of the innovative ideas suggested by some of the most powerful governments was to provide physical lab kits and essential tools to the students. That way, they can perform the scientific experiments at their homes while being guided by their teachers on any online platform.
This innovative idea has given rise to many arguments, as many researchers were opposed to the decision. One of the reasons they put forward was the lack of safety and precautions used by students. They also implied that many chemistry-related experiments need a professional educator side-by-side to guide the students as even a little mistake can prove to be fatal.
On the other hand, many schools and colleges have taken the innovative idea positively and are making it work. Governments all around the world are encouraging educational administration to take effective measures and create a smart system as cities will remain in lockdown for an extended period. To support this, many governments have started to provide Science-related interactive products for distribution among students. However, these lab kits may prove costly for some students. The Kits being provided are much more expensive compared to the usual lab tuition and fee. This has been stressful for students, and consequently, many refuse to buy any kits to perform the experiments.
To mitigate this issue, governments must take action and provide an incentive to the production companies so that they can grant a COVID-19-related discount. Certainly, in this way, many students from poor backgrounds can buy the much-needed lab-kits, and without wasting any time perform scientific experiments and attain that much-needed science lab experience.
Besides that, many colleges have offered the students distance-learning methods similar to a classroom. It is, however, the choice depends entirely on the parent or student. While this is being done for the primary aspects of education, whether the distance-learning option is being undertaken for the science labs remains a big question.
Many innovative digital companies have invented science lab simulators; these simulators can run on 3D structures as well. Many companies have offered to provide these digital science lab simulators to schools and colleges. Without any doubts, this has to be one of the best innovative alternatives for a science lab. These companies have so far provided their simulations to over 2.1 million students – roughly 120 colleges – for free. A perfect example of empathy in the most disputed era of globalisation.
Furthermore, the simulation consists of 150 virtual laboratories in Chemistry, Physics, Biology, and General Sciences. These virtual labs are designed to work on low-cost variants. In this way, students from poor backgrounds can attain virtual lab systems.
This system, unlike any precedent alternatives, gives almost real-time results. Many students reported that the simulation labs were almost like a real science lab. These labs can upturn the deteriorated online education system – especially the other online science labs. Governments around the world must take this initiative positively and allow the simulation lab companies to expand their domains in other countries as well.
Having elucidated on the positive side of the Simulation science lab, it is now mandatory to shed light upon the problems that come with it. As many students from poor backgrounds or students from third world countries studying in a foreign country don’t possess computers or laptops, it will be challenging to make this technology accessible to them. Foreign students or students from low-income backgrounds make roughly 30% of the entire populace. Moreover, students with different disabilities are unable to use this simulation to their advantage. Some students might also want a coursework writer online to help in these unprecedented times.
These are the reasons many colleges are against opting this innovative idea for their students.
To mitigate this issue, the company must design a different simulation platform that can be accessible on low-end smartphones and tablets as well. In this way, students from poor backgrounds will not be left out. On the other hand, students with disabilities must be given extra support and after-sale service by the manufacturing companies. This help can take the form of a personal assistant or an online bot designed to suit their needs.
To conclude, many educators and science researchers believe that these simulation tools and many other gadgets of similar kind cannot replace physical science lab. These solutions were created innovatively by great minds for emergency-related scenarios, and these solutions only act as a backup for real science labs. It is a big mistake to think of using these simulation science labs in the long run, given the digital limitations.
Virtual science labs will help students attain necessary information about chemicals, and a preview of what a science lab or a pipette – a scientific tool – may look like, but these virtual labs cannot teach a student how to hold a pipette. Furthermore, a science student, in the corporate world, while looking for a job, may need to perform these experiments and if they have only seen the experiments on the virtual simulator, they won’t be able to perform it physically. For this reason, colleges must think of these simulator labs as a short-term solution or a backup plan, instead of thinking of it as a long-term solution.